Taking underwater photos is a fun way to capture a few more special summer moments with your loved ones. From swimming at the neighborhood pool to snorkeling in the Caribbean, snapping pictures with your phone allows you to capture a unique perspective. There is nothing wrong with taking underwater pictures with a DSLR or diving camera. However, you can also use the camera you have with you at all times – your smartphone – to take underwater pictures for a fraction of the price. Studying up on underwater photography ahead of time will help you turn your decent shots into great photos you’ll enjoy viewing for years to come.

Purchase Waterproof Housing

Most major smartphone manufacturers claim their phones are water-resistant or waterproof. Water-resistant means the phone will hold up under a water spill or brief period out in the rain. It should not be fully dunked in water. If you have a phone that isn’t waterproof, you must buy waterproof housing for underwater photography. There are a number of popular waterproof housing options for both iPhone and Android users.

Learn How to use Your Phone Camera Underwater

When you’re fully submerged in the water and your phone is outfitted with waterproof housing, it’s very difficult to see the phone screen. Due the pressure of the water and the barrier it forms, you also won’t be able to operate the on-screen shutter button. Instead, the volume buttons will serve as a shutter release. If you have an upcoming trip, consider practicing with your waterproof housing at the local pool or beach so you’re familiar with the underwater functionality ahead of time.

Embrace the Opportunity to get Really Wet While Taking Pictures

Sticking one arm into the edge of the pool or ocean to capture your dog paddling or your son on the kickboard sort of defeats the point of investing in waterproof housing. The housing gives your phone the capacity for full submersion. Take advantage of this capacity. Most likely you’ll create your most vivid water images when you’re completely underwater.

Experiment With Shooting in Varying Light Conditions

When you’re on vacation, the majority of your image taking will occur in full daylight with ample direct sunlight. You’ll be able to take bright, high contrast photos that are well-lit from all sides, which is good. However, shooting early or late in the day allows you to bring new elements to your photos, telling a more detailed story of your trip. Keep your waterproof housing in your day bag so you’re able to use it whenever you’re in the water, expanding your opportunities for shooting in different lighting conditions.

Take Lots of Photos

As it’s difficult to see the phone screen underwater, you won’t be able to assess your images as you take them. While you’re swimming in the lake or snorkeling in the bay, keep taking photos. You may only end up with a handful of shots you like, which is okay. The more photos you take, the more likely it is that you’ll get those few keeper images.

Learn to Anticipate Key Moments

Setting yourself up before a key moment occurs gives you a better chance of getting a great photo. When you know your son is planning to jump off the diving board or your husband is going to launch with his scuba gear, you’ll have an idea for your composition a few moments before the action occurs.

Edit Your Images

Shooting underwater offers some difficult tones. It’s inevitable that faces will appear really blue when they’re immersed in blue water. Editing your images allows you to adjust these tones. Depending on the given lighting conditions, you may want to convert some of your images to black and white. Black and white processing can also give photos a dramatic feel, which adds to the story you’re telling.

Embrace the Blurred, Distorted Images

When you aren’t able to evaluate your images as you shoot, you may be shooting with water directly on the lens for whole stretches of your time in the water. Check your phone periodically to clear the lens of water drops. When water goes unnoticed, you may create images that aren’t to your liking. However, sometimes the blurring or distortion adds to the feeling of being underwater, further drawing viewers into the image.

Like any type of photography, underwater photography takes time, practice, and patience. As you become more comfortable using your camera phone underwater, you’ll learn which lighting conditions, angles, and editing techniques you prefer for your images. Check out our buyers guides for Waterproof Bags For Snorkeling, Snorkel Gear, and Beach Carts for relevant products for your underwater photo taking.